Asian acetic markets were steady this week, and had yet to catch up with upstream methanol markets, which have firmed over the past two weeks oversupply issues. A stronger Chinese yuan lent support to China’s domestic and FOB prices in the past month. As such, domestic prices this week were little changed from last week, at around Yuan 3,150/mt Friday, up Yuan 50/mt on week. The Chinese yuan has risen 3.3% since October on optimism that the US-China trade tensions will ease, and the two major economies could reach a trade deal soon. Meanwhile, demand for acetic acid across Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia was stable amid ample supplies. “We have to wait for real market direction after the Lunar New Year,” a trader said.
VAM: Upstream ethylene prices have firmed considerably over the past nine weeks, and ethylene-based vinyl acetate monomer producers were feeling the pinch to raise prices, trade sources said. The CFR Northeast Asia ethylene marker was assessed at $1,075/mt Friday, up $35/mt from Thursday, and was last higher at $1,090/mt CFR on October 19, data showed. Trade sources said they expect Asian VAM markets to become tighter after the Lunar New Year holidays, as producers prioritize shipments to Europe, as the first non-EU 350,000 mt imports enjoy tax concessions. RATIONALE: AA: The CFR Far East Asia and the Southeast Asia AA markers were both unchanged from last week at $445/mt CFR, based on stable market fundamentals. The FOB China price was up $2/mt at $401/mt, against buying indications hear around $395/mt FOB, and discussions at $400-$405/mt FOB. The CFR South Asia marker was assessed at $435/mt, unchanged from last Friday, against offers heard at $430-$440/mt CFR India. VAM: CFR China was assessed at $930/mt Friday, stable from last Friday, amid thin trading. The CFR Southeast Asia and CFR South Asia prices were unchanged week on week at $895/mt and $830/mt, respectively, amid stable market fundamentals.